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Espresso Buttermilk Ice Cream with Honey Caramel

Espresso Buttermilk Ice Cream w/ Salted Honey Caramel

This is how it goes--for me, anyway:  You buy buttermilk for some recipe or another (in this case, chocolate zucchini bread), and you have almost an entire quart left with nothing to do, nowhere fancy to go--it’s just sitting there in the fridge, staring you in the face every time you open the door.  As you do open the door, you can almost hear it saying, “Still here.  Hello?  I’m waiting.  I’m aging as we speak.  What are you going to do with me?  You can’t let me go to waste, I’m only 1/2 cup short of a whole quart!  Hello?  Hellooooo???”  Hiding it behind the other stuff doesn’t help much, either.


It tortures me, that silly tangy buttermilk.  And then it hit me!  An idea, not the buttermilk.  Ice cream!   I’ve seen it around the blogosphere.  It intrigued me, for sure.   All of the recipes I saw required some type of heating stuff up before you freeze it.  Sigh.  I’ll be the first to admit it, I can be supremely lazy--I want instant (or pretty close to it) gratification.  It’s hard enough for me to let fresh homemade ice cream sit overnight before I dig in!  I forged ahead and decided I didn’t really need to cook anything or make a custard.  I hoped and prayed that my lack of patience wouldn't let me down.  It didn’t!  In fact, my 15 year old daughter said that this is her favorite of all of the ice creams I’ve made so far.   How’s that for an endorsement?

Since I had a brand new jar of espresso powder that was also bugging me, I figured I’d use that, too, and make it happy.  Tastes amazing with the sweet and tangy buttermilk ice cream, if I do say so.  I also swirled a salted honey caramel into the ice cream, for good measure.  As I was making the caramel (which means--I’d already started) I realized I didn’t have enough Golden Syrup.   I could swear I did!   You could use all corn syrup, if you like, which is what the original recipe calls for.  The Golden Syrup filled my 1/3 cup measuring cup only halfway, so I improvised and filled it the rest of the way with honey.  What’s one more experiment when you’re already in the middle of one?   Worked perfectly, and the fresh taste of the honey shines right through!

Espresso Buttermilk Ice Cream w/ Salted Honey Caramel

Let’s get to the recipes:

Espresso Buttermilk Ice Cream with Salted Honey Caramel

Caramel Sauce
adapted from Epicurious
makes approx 1 cup

1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp golden syrup
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp honey
1/4 cup water
7 tablespoons heavy cream + 2 more to stir in later
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 generous pinches of kosher salt
piece of aluminum foil

Make the caramel:
Take a piece of aluminum foil, and shape it around the pan you'll be using.   Using a knife, poke a hole large enough to pour cream through in the foil near the side of the pan.  Why?  Because after you've started, and you need to pour the cream into the boiling mixture, it'll steam and bubble up, and this way, it won't splash back on you.  Remove the piece of foil until you need it.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan, boil the sugar, golden syrup, honey, and water over  medium heat--stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Boil the mixture, without stirring, gently swirling pan, until the color is a deep caramel (this took only about 5 minutes for me).
Remove the pan from heat, place the pan's foil hat back on, and carefully pour cream and vanilla down side of pan through that hole you made earlier.  After a few seconds, remove the foil.

Return to the stove and simmer the mixture, stirring for a minute or so, until it's nice and velvety.
Remove pan from heat and cool for about a minute--then stir in the remaining 2 tbsp of cream and the salt--stir to mix thoroughly.
Let it cool, then store it in a container in the fridge until you need it.
You can make this up to one week ahead and store in the fridge.  Bring to room temp before using.

Espresso Buttermilk Ice Cream

3/4 cups sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 egg
1 tbsp espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, whisk all of the ice cream ingredients until the sugar is dissolved.  If it's nice and cold, proceed with freezing according to manufacturers instructions.
If it's not very cold, chill it in the fridge for a couple of hours, then go ahead and freeze it up in  your ice cream maker.

After freezing, transfer the ice cream to a covered container and allow it to sit for about 4 hours or overnight.
Bring the caramel to room temp, and pour some over the ice cream.  Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the caramel into the ice cream.  Use as much or as little of the caramel as you like.


My caramel was sinking to the bottom, but it was nothing that a few stirs of the ice cream couldn't fix.  The ice cream itself sets up nicely, but still retains enough softness that stirring it around is actually pretty easy.  Anyone know a fix for that?

  • If you prefer, you can leave the caramel swirl out entirely and just use it as a topping.  Or eat it by the spoonful.  Not that I was doing that.
  • The ice cream has a tangy taste from the buttermilk, but nothing overpowering. 
  • It’s deliciously creamy and rich on the tongue, and goes beautifully with the espresso and caramel. 
  • Make this ice cream and make your ignored buttermilk happy!

Espresso Buttermilk Ice Cream w/ Salted Honey Caramel

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Reader Comments (23)

I do believe my jeans have just gone up a size.

August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Just from looking? Oh hell, no! That's dangerous...hehe!

August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElle

How do you come up with these amazing ice cream flavors!! YUM!

August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica @ How Sweet

Ok, so I finally took the plunge and bought an ice cream maker and it's like having a crack machine in the house. "Oh? You'd like some crack? Just let me get my evil machine out and hook ya right up!" I tried a recipe similar to this one in flavors and it flopped so it is pure fate that you posted this because it's *exactly* what I've been looking for. All of my favorite flavors in one bowl? Yes, please.

One question, raw eggs kind squick me out, I guess I can use some of that egg substitute in the carton stuff? I've never used it before so I thought I'd ask the evil mastermind behind this recipe before making any changes! hehe Thank you, Elle! (One other thing, those bowls...CUTE! Where are they from?)

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterApril in CT

Hi April! Glad I could help you out in the flavors department, hehe!

I'd go ahead and use egg substitute. I'm not sure if it'll be as creamy, but it should still be really good. Let me know if you try it and how it goes,ok? Thanks!

Oh, the bowls--I picked them up at the Christmas Tree Shop--you must have those in CT, right? Fabulous store for sweet little dishes.

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElle

I love that you didn't cook the base at all! My experiment with buttermilk ice cream was a total fail so I'm glad to see it worked for someone.

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkat

This ice cream sounds like perfection and the sauce... well, anything that includes salted caramel has to be heavenly. Also, I LOVE THOSE BOWLS! Where'd you get those?

I NEED a scoop right now. No AC at work and I am dying. This would surely cool me off. Love it!

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

I read that, Kat--I thought I remembered someone in the comments saying it maybe needed more fat, so that's why I upped the cream and tossed in an egg. Worked beautifully! Thank you!

Hi Brian! Thank you very much for your comment! Have you heard of a chain of stores called Christmas Tree Shop? They're not really C'mas shops except at, well, Christmas, hehe. They have really unique things all the time, and you never know what you're going to find. It's a great place for photo props and sweet little things like that set of bowls. If you can find one, you'll become quickly addicted!

Maria--you poor thing! I wish I could get some of this to you, stat!

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElle

I am an ice cream maker aficionado too and love experimenting with weird flavors. Buttermilk is very cool indeed. But you do know the substitute for it don't you... 1 cup milk plus tbsp lemon juice or vinegar. Of course then this ice cream would not have happened.

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEvelyne@CheapEthnicEatz

Evelyne, thank you for stopping by! Yes, I did know that, but like you said, then this would never have happened. ;) I usually buy the quart, which is the only size I can get around here--knowing full well that I'll just *have* to make buttermilk biscuits. Oh, such torture! I wanted to try something different this time. I always use that trick in a pinch, though!

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElle

Elle - This looks incredible! I have not made ice cream before but this may have just convinced me to try and do so. How fun!

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJen Dean

Thank you, Jen! This one's a pretty good place to start--it's really very simple. It helps that it's absolutely delicious, too!

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElle

elle--seriously perfect use for that buttermilk! although i've been a coffee fiend for some time, i've only recently begun to appreciate its flavor in desserts. delicious work!

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergrace

nice flavors working here. i could use a bowl of that right now just to see if it tastes as good as i am imagining it!

August 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonald

Wow, this looks truly heavenly!

Oh geez this looks freaking INSANE! Our buttermilk containers must be cousins, because mine says the same thing to me from the shelf in the fridge.

August 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjulia

well well ms thing this is just mind blowing. i think we have to get you an ice cream shop. i mean seriously you come up with the best flavor combo's.

August 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commentervanillasugar

I will never tire of ice cream recipes and this one looks especially good!

August 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbrilynn

Yum! I love me some buttermilk! I actually buy a litre every weekend and surprisingly, it gets used up. Not only have I made buttermilk ice cream (though this looks SO good), I've used it to marinate chicken, intensify baked goods of all kinds (cakes and cookies too) and make dressing out of it regularly (and not just Ranch!) So there you have it...lots of good uses for buttermilk! Though this one is rather inticing as far as ice creams go...salty sweet, what more could you ask for?

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

Oh man this looks delicious! And your photographs are beautiful! Everything here looks great!
I recently launched my own blog, I'd love for you to check it out and let me know what you think! :) Thanks!

September 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPretty. Good. Food.

It has been a long time since I pampered myself with something so sinful! I just tried this one and it was worth it. I I forgot my diet for awhile.

January 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdining table

This is just a fabulous recipe - I made it yesterday, and it turned out beautifully. Buttermilk adds so much depth to ice cream, it's amazing. I drizzled some salted Hershey's caramel into the machine during the last few minutes of churning, then when I served the ice cream, I drizzled more salted caramel on top, and chopped a few lightly salted almonds to sprinkle on as well. Another good idea to "gild the lily" would be a bit of chopped Heath bar. Thanks for a wonderful recipe, Elle!

By the way, according to my latest version of Cook's Illustrated magazine, you can freeze buttermilk. I'm a little skeptical, but I've purchased disposable containers and put the remaining buttermilk in the freezer to see if it works - I'll be needing that buttermilk around Thanksgiving. :)

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLizzie-B

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